Detroit Lions fans just got the best news they could possibly get this week and no, the Lions didn’t find a loophole to trade Eric Ebron after the deadline. This news is much, much better.
According to Ian Rapoport, Lions left tackle Taylor Decker is finally ready to return to practice, and will do so as soon as possible:
#Lions LT Taylor Decker, who was on PUP to start 2017, will begin practicing today, I’m told. No word on when he’ll play, but some good news— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 1, 2017
Before we get into what this means for Detroit, a few caveats. One, as ESPN’s Michael Rothstein points out, the Lions play on Monday night this week, which likely means that Detroit isn’t actually practicing until Thursday. So Decker probably won’t practice “today,” Wednesday, as Rapoport mentions in his tweet.
Secondly, Rapoport doesn’t have the cleanest record when reporting injuries. Most recently, he was the first to report that Golden Tate would miss a few weeks with his shoulder injury. Tate did not miss a single game, although he was clearly on a limited snap count out of the bye week.
However, if this news is true, it’s absolutely huge for the Detroit Lions. After Decker went down, the Lions were forced to trade for Greg Robinson, who played poorly and required a ton of tight end help on his side. Then, Robinson was injured in the Saints game, in addition to his backup Emmett Cleary. That meant Detroit had to start Brian Mihalik at left tackle last week against the Steelers, who had never started a single NFL game in his career. Though he performed as well as one could hope for, it was still a below average performance.
Though Decker may be back to practice, that does not mean that he’ll necessarily be playing on Monday against the Green Bay Packers. Remember, Decker suffered his injury during OTAs, so he didn’t even get to practice during training camp. It could be another week or so until he’s ready for gameday.
If Decker does return to practice this week, the Lions will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on injured reserve for the rest of the year.
UPDATE: Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press is essentially corroborating Rapoport’s story:
On the Taylor Decker front, the Lions have a sort of combo walk-thru/practice today that Taylor Decker is expected on the field— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 1, 2017
UPDATE #2: The Lions made it official on Wednesday: